Embracing the bodies we have


Like many young individuals, my journey towards self-love has been marked with challenges. Growing up, I grappled with the feat of self-acceptance, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. The medications required to manage my condition, had significant impacts on both my external appearance and self-esteem. The notorious “moon face” symptom, a result of prednisolone, brought changes in my appetite, and caused a redistribution of fat in certain areas of my body. While I have found confidence in myself now, I have struggled to get to where I am today.

Like many of us, I have had to overcome obstacles throughout my life, and in doing so, learned the art of resilience. This resilience led me onto a journey of self-acceptance, and understanding my body became a key part of this process. I delved into the realm of personal style and stumbled upon David Kibbe’s Metamorphosis, discovering that I have a romantic body type akin to Marilyn Monroe—soft and curvy, and the most feminine of all. This revelation transformed my insecurities into a newfound appreciation for my unique beauty, and simultaneously shifted my perspective towards others, no longer was I comparing my beauty to other women and tearing myself down in the process. I found myself instead actively appreciating the different ways we portray beauty. I came across a quote, that made me realise the sun is no less than the beauty of a flower, or a fish, or a display of fireworks, their beauty is incomparable to one another.

The sun is no less than the beauty of a flower, or a fish, or a display of fireworks

I went from treating my body like an ornament to respecting it as the instrument of my life, and I began to cherish my body for the journey it has taken me on; the legs that carry me, the arms that embrace my loved ones, the hands that articulate my thoughts, the stomach that digests my food, and the chest that protects my beating heart.

My journey towards self-acceptance extended to my wardrobe choices. I started selecting clothes that flattered my figure, opting for soft rounded necklines that echoed the natural contours of my silhouette and wrap-style tops that accentuated my figure. In realising that my body is my instrument, fashion emerged as a means of playing notes of self-acceptance.

I am not the only woman who has encountered a journey towards self-love, my story intertwines with that of millions of others; I think it is important to share these stories, and celebrate one another for the beauty we behold. I asked readers of Style to contribute some of their own experiences and opinions of themselves, the things that make them feel bold, confident and beautiful for this International Women’s Day:

I think it is important to share these stories, and celebrate one another for the beauty we behold

Margot (4th year, Van Mildert)
Favourite feature: My eyebrows and my cheeks.
Feeling bold in shades of black, red and off-white. Margot describes her personal style as Parisian with a cosy twist, she loves wearing clothes that suit her body type, and shared “I love how the clothes you wear tell your story before people even get to know you.”

Lauren (1st year, St Mary’s)
Favourite Feature: I love my cheeks, and I love that I have artistic skills!
Describes her personal style as creative, and supplements her style with the boldness of red and electric blue. She feels empowered wearing vintage clothing, knowing her outfit is both “sustainable and unique.”

Talia (3rd year, Collingwood)
Favourite Feature: I love my long legs, I used to feel so self-conscious of my height as a girl, but now it’s one of my favourite features.
Talia finds empowerment through finding fashion that works for her body. “Shape, length and colour are so different for everyone.” She says. Describing her personal style as “Mix-N-Match”, Talia loves dressing in the colour red, “Nothing says bold like red, accents of red spice any outfit up.”

Ellie (1st year, Stephenson College)
Favourite Feature: My eyes.
“I feel most confident when I wear shades of blue, as it brings out the colour of my eyes more.” Ellie describes her personal style as “ultra feminine” and explains, “my fashion sense helps me to define who I want to be.”

In a world that is so scrutinising, it is important to support each other, and celebrate our differences, everybody’s body is beautiful and incomparable to one another, we are all unique in our own way, and each one of us has something positive to contribute. This International Women’s Day, take the time to get to know yourself, appreciate those around you and do something to take you that one step closer to self love.

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